My guest post today is from a wonderful and talented children’s educator, performer and songwriter Olivia de Sousa – Ferres also known as Livvi. With a much needed message in today’s world, Olivia is a source of great wisdom and insight and I feel very priviledged that she has taken the time to write this piece. Over to you Livvi… xx
When my son was 3 years old, he started to hate going to childcare.
He’d happily been going for 2 years, so what changed?
The problem was that another boy had started picking on him on an ongoing basis.
I was floored.
Every parent dreads their child being the target of mean behaviour. I didn’t expect to have to face the issue when he was still so young!
I searched for resources to help me guide my son through this. I found a video by Brooks Gibbs, and I looked into what his message was.
His approach is to teach the victim to disempower the aggressor by using the ‘Golden Rule’.
Brooks explains that when someone is unkind to him,
“I am extra kind to them- demonstrating that they have no power over my emotions. They will almost always stop the mean behaviour out of frustration that they can’t psychologically dominate (or control) me”
As a parent, and as a children’s entertainer, I wanted to know how I could help convey this message to my child and other children.
This is how the song ‘I Like Me No Matter What’ was born.
I like me no matter what
I like you no matter what
If you don’t like my style, that’s okay
I’m gonna be happy anyway
It is written in first person. So when enthusiastically sung, the singer will feel the words and believe them. An extra powerful form of positive affirmation.
I believe, when it comes to social interactions and dealing with mean behaviour, teaching the victim resilience skills is just one part of the puzzle. Since my son was the victim in this instance, this is the aspect I focused on.
However, it is also vitally important that the aggressor and bystanders are educated.
It is an opportunity to teach all parties that true power comes from love and kindness. By following the wisdom in our own hearts, rather than battling for power by putting others down or trying to be popular.Agreed!
Now my son is 6, and thankfully this upsetting phase is behind him.
He recently told me of an incident where another boy was treated meanly. This time my son was the bystander.
I thanked him for telling me about it. I said how the victim in this situation probably felt how my son had once felt when he was picked on (my son still remembers it well).
I asked my son what he would have wanted a bystander to do in that situation. He answered, ‘To say “Stop”. To speak up for him’.
I used this as an opportunity to say, ‘If you want to be a leader, this is what it looks like. Following your heart and doing what is right even when others aren’t’.
(I’ve written a song about leadership too! It’s just not a children’s song. You can check it out here. )
I find the biggest challenge to parenting is that we have to embody what we want them to learn. We have to be the living, breathing examples.
It’s then we realise the standards we want them to achieve aren’t always easy.
But they are worth it.
How about we start by liking ourselves, no matter what? 🙂
Beautiful and powerful message Livvi. Thank you.
I have included a playlist below with Livvi’s song including our families favorite A Hero will Come. Thanks for stopping by everybody and I’ll see you all again soon. Bye for now. Debbie Doo ⭐